How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near North Little Rock AR
Picking the right phlebotomy training near North Little Rock AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as North Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many North Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local North Little Rock AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Little Rock AR.